While tests exist to prove whether or not you are drunk driving, there is no way to prove whether you are distracted driving. A bill proposed in one state could change that.
The New York State Assembly is considering a bill that would allow law enforcement to use a new device to analyze the smartphones of drivers to determine whether or not they were using the device while they were driving. The “Textalyzer” is designed to combat distracted driving in the same way breathalyzers combat drunk driving. But will this bill make its way to other states, and what does it mean for car accident victims?
While nearly every state has banned texting and driving, New York is the first state to consider a bill that would allow law enforcement to tap into smartphones to enforce these laws. And even in New York, the bill faces tough opposition.
Proponents of the bill claim that with distracted driving accidents on the rise, and with their potential to cause serious injuries, this bill can help law enforcement take a tougher stance against these drivers – potentially saving lives.
However, opponents (including organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union) claim the bill gives the government a free pass to infringe upon our privacy. A simple fender bender could allow law enforcement to tap into your personal smartphone.
Whether this bill will pass and whether other states will consider adopting similar versions is yet to be determined, but its proposal opens the door for more legal questions for car accident victims. Drunk drivers are already seen to be grossly negligent and at fault for any car accidents they cause, but there is much wiggle room for those who are caught distracted driving. If the use of Textalyzers catches on, it could have an impact on who is determined to be at fault in these accidents, and how much compensation you are able to claim as a result.